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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First , I tried to contact MSC customer support prior to the cruise. Two emails and two phone call back requests and NO response! Ship was beautiful but food was mediocre at best. Staff was sad looking, not friendly and not helpful. They ... Read More
First , I tried to contact MSC customer support prior to the cruise. Two emails and two phone call back requests and NO response! Ship was beautiful but food was mediocre at best. Staff was sad looking, not friendly and not helpful. They just stood around looking like sad sacks. When I had an issue and went to the front desk I was met with:someone will respond. No one ever did. Funny, after I got home I receive an email asking if the problems had been handled. I responded No! Again no response from anyone. At dinner the waiter made a mess of our order, brought it cold and said the kitchen was having problems? It was obvious to the three of us that the staff urgently needed extra training, with about half of the buffet group being send to a remedial course. There was consistently confusion when approaching key staff. One officer replied, I have absolutely no idea and walked away without offering assistance. It may have been a cheaper cruise but not worth the money. This was my 38th cruise and my worst. I use to say there are no bad cruises, just some better than others. I no longer will say that. Cabin attendants were good but also confused when asked about simple issues like why did I not get a daily program or why can I not get ice. Entertainment was on the cheap. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Sailed with husband,daughter and 2 friends. This was our 55th cruise. 6th cruise line, returned from 04/04/2019 sailing on MSC .meraveglia The ship is lovely, staff was wonderful, especially Jonathan, my room steward. ( Balcony ... Read More
Sailed with husband,daughter and 2 friends. This was our 55th cruise. 6th cruise line, returned from 04/04/2019 sailing on MSC .meraveglia The ship is lovely, staff was wonderful, especially Jonathan, my room steward. ( Balcony Stateroom #13150, Aurea experience), was kept perfect at all times. Jonathan was kind, courteous and one of the best I’ve ever had. The room needs more storage. Small closet with too few shelves with only 2 drawers is not sufficient. The spa was amazing and “Cherry’ gave me the best message ever. She was excellent Spa was the best I’ve experienced at sea. Very very busy on sea day. Dining room sat 5 of us at table of 4. Woman who does seating in Panorama dining room was downright rude when we requested a different table. My daughter was placed in the aisle with metal bar in front of her making it difficult to actually sit at the table. No napkin or flat wear unless requested. My daughter, a professional woman, was mortified. As I was for her. Food in dining room, Panorama, was ok..not good. Variety was small...do not even think to order Mahi mahi . The staff is hard working. Courteous. The real problem, which absolutely ruined our cruise was the tour “Rome on your own”. We waited a lifetime to see Rome, and did not. 4 of us are 65+ With health, mobility and vision problems. Don’t let the term “easy’ Fool anyone, disgraceful. There was a marathon the day of our arrival to Rome. The entire city was affected and virtually closed down. The tour company was totally unprepared,causing the ride to last twice as long just to try to find parking. When the bus finally parked, we were at first, led in the wrong direction. Walking up hills and many steps. The tour guides finally realized an error in direction ,so we retraced our steps. We never got to see Rome s sights as we could not walk further than the Spanish steps. The reason for our trip was primarily visiting Rome. I cannot tell you the disappointment. We should have been told we could not get buses or taxis into the center of Rome because of the marathon. We should have been given a choice of cancelling. The guides SHOULD HAVE PREPARED. Till we walked back to bus stop, we had hobbled nearly 5 miles. Causing problems for the remaining trip. I will not go back on the MERAVEGLIA again Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was my 6th cruise, very first with MSC. I have cruised with Carnival and Celebrity. This ship was so disorganized. Every person you asked had a different answer. The rooms were not cleaned well. The food was TERRIBLE. Not fresh. ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise, very first with MSC. I have cruised with Carnival and Celebrity. This ship was so disorganized. Every person you asked had a different answer. The rooms were not cleaned well. The food was TERRIBLE. Not fresh. They sent up wrong breakfasts and one day, no breakfast at all. 3/4 of the staff were rude. The dining room was awful. The first night our table of 4, we each ordered something different, and all 4 dinners were terrible. Never again on this cruise line. I required a wheelchair accessible room. The accessibility was awful. There were no automatic doors. I could not enter or leave our cabin without help. In the cabin, the phone was located across the room, not next to the bed. There was very little help to get me up and down the ramps to get on and off the ship for excursions. There were no onboard activities. Very poor. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I should point out that this was my first cruise although my wife has been on several, including another MSC cruise. We scheduled this cruise about a year in advance and purchased the cheapest cabin available. We figured we would be on ... Read More
I should point out that this was my first cruise although my wife has been on several, including another MSC cruise. We scheduled this cruise about a year in advance and purchased the cheapest cabin available. We figured we would be on excursions everyday and didn't plan to spend much time in the cabin so no need to get a fancy one. We flew from the US to Barcelona two days before the cruise and did some touring.The morning of the cruise we went on a Freemasons and Knights Templar tour in Barcelona through Barcelona Occulta Tours which was excellent - lots of hidden history in that city. Embarkation took a while and nobody really explained what was going on. It seemed a bit chaotic but eventually we got on board. Luckily the staff is multi-lingual and answered our questions. We ate at the buffet for every meal on the ship and we thought it was pretty good. Some of the buffet sections stay mostly the same every day like pizza, bread, and cold cuts. Others like the rotisserie, ethnic and dessert sections had different items every day. My wife is a vegetarian and was able to find plenty of food. We ordered the breakfast package which was delivered to our room every morning. The first day they brought enough food for 10 people and I had to ask them to only bring one plate of each item. The breakfast was quite delicious. There were nightly shows in the theater which were free. We thought they were pretty good. The ship was generally kept pretty clean. Our cabin ran out of hand soap the day before we got off the ship though, and I ended up getting sick the following evening. It was difficult to locate our steward when we needed him. We went on excursions every day they were available and could usually only locate him in the evening. Room service staff, cleaning staff, and servers in the buffet were nice. I dined at the three specialty restaurants. I thought the Butcher's Block was by far the best, followed by Eataly, and the Japanese restaurant in last place. I was tempted to eat at the Butcher's Block a second time but didn't get around to it. As mentioned in other reviews there was a bit of pushing and shoving at the buffet. Not everyone is raised to be polite and they won't hesitate to cut in front of you or push you out of the way. After getting over my initial shock, I was becoming a master of body positioning, wedging my way into lines and pushing people aside just like those brutes. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The ship seemed a bit crowded, especially in the evenings and on the formal nights. I wore my suit jacket twice and had some pants/shirts ironed for a nominal fee. We had a private Montserrat/Barcelona tour with Barcelona Day Tours scheduled for 8:30am the morning we got off the ship, so we did the self disembarkation along with probably a hundred or so others. I was worried about getting off in time, but it was no problem. Excursions: Marseille and Avignon - We liked it and our guide Cecil was good. We paid to go onto the bridge which was nice. We saw Chateau D'If from the church. Magnificent Milano - The city is cool, but annoying people trying to sell you stuff are a big problem. Our guide wasn't that great. She had a very halting speaking style where she would pause for a long time. Rome - There was a marathon which caused our excursion to be canceled, so we did the Papal Angelus one and it was great. We saw St Peter's Basilica and the Pope. Then we saw the Pantheon, Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and Forum on foot. Some roads were closed for the marathon but our guide was excellent and circumvented them. Segesta and Eurice - We took the bus into the mountains and it was very cold there so take warm clothes. We toured a church but it was foggy and couldn't really see much. Then we went to Segesta and saw some ruins that were pretty cool. We received a pretty good packed lunch on this tour. I was quite happy with it. Valletta and Mdina - This was a pretty good tour but only 4 hours long. I wish they had a longer tour on Malta. We went to Mdina first and toured a church. The guide explained Maltese culture as we walked the streets. Then we went to Valletta and saw another church where the knights are buried and where there is a Caravaggio painting. I thought it was pretty cool. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise ship because of the ports mostly. We were most interested in sightseeing, but got more than we expected. We used cruise shuttles and Hop-off/Hop-on busses arranged by the cruise, for reasonable price. We did not use ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because of the ports mostly. We were most interested in sightseeing, but got more than we expected. We used cruise shuttles and Hop-off/Hop-on busses arranged by the cruise, for reasonable price. We did not use any excursions, explored on our own and found it to be very efficient. On the ship, the entertainment was outstanding. We planned to book a Cirque du Soleil but the free Broadway shows were so nice that we attended those instead (different one each night). The dancers and singers are talented to say the least. There kids camp was good, our girls (5 and 7) got to love it by the third time we dropped them off, it took some time for them to get used to kids speaking different languages. The pool area was beautiful, outdoor pool was heated but the weather was too cold for us. We used indoor pool and Jacuzzis (well kept and orderly, never overcrowded). The casino was quite small, always too close to the smoking area in my opinion, but overall we were happy we didn't get to gamble and loose money. There were some photographers, we took pictures and booked a digital package, which was a deal in my opinion. We booked 2 rooms: a balcony and an inside room. Both rooms were not very roomy, but everything well organized. The service to the balcony room was noticeable better (never missed a thing, courteous, pleasant) than to the inside cabin (pool towels were removed and not replaced on several occasions) for some reason. There were no towel animals, but the beds were made several times per day, always clean and tidy. The program was delivered every evening. We checked our account every evening and were never charged for anything we didn't authorize. The ship was beautiful, as expected, also very clean and well-organized. I was happy with the service provided by all the staff in dining rooms and bars. We ate at our assigned restaurant once, found it to be quite slow and continued to use the buffet instead. The buffet had a wide variety of dishes, tasty and appealing. We were given coupons for drinks, but overall the prices were reasonable as well. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze! Overall, we would cruise with MSC again, especially on Meraviglia. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my second cruise but my partners first. We arrived at Barcelona airport late due to a flight delay at Gatwick so our transfer to the ship had long gone. We were told to get a taxi at a cost of 39.00 euro's which was credited ... Read More
This was my second cruise but my partners first. We arrived at Barcelona airport late due to a flight delay at Gatwick so our transfer to the ship had long gone. We were told to get a taxi at a cost of 39.00 euro's which was credited to our account by the ship. Embarkation was smooth as we were ushered into a huge marque where our documents were checked and we were given our personal cards (like a credit card) which showed our room number, name, deck etc as well as your photo which is used for security when you disembark and embark during your cruise. The first sight of the vessel was amazing, it is enormous and very impressive. Our baggage was outside the door when we eventually found our cabin. we had booked a window cabin but were a little disappointed as it was very small and, in our view, badly laid out. Our window view was of the lifeboats!! However we told ourselves that we had come on a holiday and not to spend lots of time in the cabin. The TV shows lots of European shows etc but not English ones, we got World News and some National Geographic, not even a music channel. I found it difficult to do my hair as there was no mirror where the plug points were for the hairdryer (included) and my straighteners/curlers. The cabin was kept spotlessly clean and the bed turned down each evening and the following days inventory left. Our first exploration of this beast of a ship was amazing and awe inspiring, it is huge. The main area is deck 6 which is the promenade and gets you from one end to the other so if your lost, which we were a few times, get yourself back to deck 6 to get your bearings. Decks 5,6 and 7 have all of your shops, bars, restaurants, entertainment. The promenade is covered by a beautiful glass dome which is able to change and throughout the voyage there is a dome show. We were given a sitting for our evening meal in the Panorama Restaurant on the early sitting of 18.00. The only thing I can say is that the food here was ok, nothing special. Be aware that the other eating area advertised, Sushi, Italian, Butchers Cut are NOT included in the all incl and re expensive. In fact that is the one accurate thing about this liner is that everything is very EXPENSIVE. We are not huge drinkers by comparison and so declined the drinks package but when we received our statement wished we hadn't (a small G&T and draught lager 15.00 euros+tax) You are not allowed to bring your own drinks aboard. Our first breakfast was in the Waves restaurant which was civil and relaxed but closes at 9.00, the food was good but the coffee was disgusting. Two days later we came across the Market Buffet which is a self service area, now it was packed and humming but there is an amazing selection of food and is open until 10.30m for breakfast. There is entertainment and activities going on throughout the day and evening and the inventory left in your cabin each evening tells you what is going on, the time, and where on the ship which is a great help. I had read many reviews before we left that said staff were rude etc, we found that the service was very good and staff were very hard working and amenable. We only did 3 shore visits, Genoa was lovely and for 12 euros we did the open top bus trip. Beware Palermo and its Horse and Carriage tour, we got ripped off good and proper. We asked how much and were told 80 euros and shown where he would take us on a map and we could stop and check places out (we checked out the fish market, 1 stall lol) suddenly after about 30/45 mins our driver stopped and told us our tour was finished and that the port was only a 10 min walk away, surprised we gave him the 80 euros to be told it was 80 euros each!!!! There was nothing to be done but pay up, he had us good and proper so pay up front if you decide a horse and carriage is for you. Having been to Malta before I knew you could by a ticket for the local bus and hop on and off as you wish, as we left breakfast there was a man by the doorway offering just that so we paid 20 euros each for a ticket. The map showed two routes, a yellow and a red. The guy suggested we take the yellow first and then the red. The yellow visited a craft village and the old capital Medina which we wanted to visit. The bus dropped us at this so called craft village which took us a while to find as it is still in construction and more like a building site. it will be lovely when finished whenever that will be!! By the time we had got another bus and quickly visited Medina we realised that we did not have enough time to do the red tour (180mins) and get back to the ship before departure!!!. Our last day on board was at sea but unfortunately the weather was very brisk and chilly so our thoughts of a lazy day on a sunbed was hampered, so we chilled inside. We requested a statement so we could pay up and lol this was when we found out how expensive this cruise really is. Suitcases have to be put outside your cabin by 1.00am of the day of departure and out of your cabin by 8.00. You are allocated a time and area to be for disembarkation and suddenly that it your off and on your own, talk about getting your money and getting rid of you lol. All in all this was a lovely ship/holiday but there are a lot of things we would do differently next time Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Last summer we were planning spring break 2019 and found a great deal on AA Rewards tickets to Barcelona. We'd been to Spain, but not Barcelona. During our research, we came upon MSC and their 7 night Med cruises. We've sailed ... Read More
Last summer we were planning spring break 2019 and found a great deal on AA Rewards tickets to Barcelona. We'd been to Spain, but not Barcelona. During our research, we came upon MSC and their 7 night Med cruises. We've sailed with RCCL, HAL, Celebrity and our beloved DCL many times, but had barely even heard of MSC. The price, timing and itinerary were right, but boy oh boy, the reviews were shaky at best. Still, after checking out the forums and youtube videos, and discovering we could status match to Black with MSC based on our DCL Platinum status, we decided to give them a try. We booked our Aurea Duplex Suite and set our countdown clocks for March, 2019. Our sailing party: Myself and my husband, 50-somethings, married 30 years with two kids. Our daughter is an adult and didn't travel with us this trip. Our son, who sailed with us, is 16. We've done over 25 cruises. This was our sixth European cruise (third Med) and, as noted above, first on MSC. We're American. Embarkation: Took a taxi from our hotel (RoomMate Carla) to the Port and arrived just before noon. First impression of the ship as we drove up "wow...looks more like an apartment building than a ship." Immediately saw the line for "Black Card" luggage drop. Had our bags tagged and our paperwork in hand, so we were processed quickly. Noticed many fellow passengers without tags, but staff was prepared and helpful. We were directed inside to the Aurea line (there separate lines...Yacht Club, Aurea and everyone else. All lines appeared to be moving...the Port was well staffed. We soon had our cards, were directed to the embarkation photo and then headed on board. From taxi drop to stepping on board took about 15 minutes. Painless. First hours onboard: Entering the Meraviglia is a bit like walking the gauntlet. In Barcelona, you enter into the Gallery where you are greeted by many smiling crew members selling drink packages, dining packages, spa packages, etc. If you've done your research, you'll be prepared and can politely decline or make someone's day by actually purchasing their wares! For convenience, we upgraded our Easy Drinks Package to Premium Plus. We're not heavy drinkers, but we like what we like and we didn't want to hassle all week with limiting ourselves to the $6 and under menu. And, yes, we should have upgraded before leaving home, but we were MSC rookies and have learned our lesson. Carefully consider you drinks package before leaving home! Anyway, after walking the gauntlet, we headed up to Deck 15 to the Market Place for lunch. It's a large area with several food and beverage stations. The stations repeat and we found that, in general, if you head to the back of the space, there are fewer crowds. The food was fine and plentiful and the drinks service (push a button at your table) was efficient and friendly. We explored the ship a bit using the MSC and Me app for a map (there are also paper ship maps located at Guest Services...we found both helpful) checking out the work out facility, basketball gym, walking track, etc. The ship is clean and bright and mostly well-laid out. It's obviously very large, but didn't feel too large and rarely felt crowded. We encountered many smiling faces from crew and guests and found the same throughout the week. We headed to our room around 1:30pm. Aurea Duplex Suite 12001: When we first looked at sailing MSC, we were shocked at the relatively low prices for staterooms, even those labeled suites and yacht club. We considered yacht club, but were intrigued by the Duplex Suite. Two stories! Two closets! Two bathrooms! And a HOT TUB ON OUR VERANDAH! For what price???? Less than an inside cabin on DCL? We decided that "we had to go for it" and pushed the book button. We also decided to surprise our son, so when he opened the door, it was the first time he had any idea what category stateroom he was spending the week in. Priceless! I had read every review and watched every video posted on the suite. The pictures and descriptions are all accurate. The room is truly special. All seasoned cruisers know that space on cruise ship is at a premium, and any parent of a teen knows that an extra bathroom on vacation is a miracle. This stateroom gave us both, as well as two walk in closets, two tvs, a dining table (which we used to plan our days and play games, as well as for breakfast most mornings,) and the fabulous verandah with private hot tub. We used it almost every evening for enjoy sailaway and sunset and it was a true luxury. The stateroom also had a minibar (which our premium plus drinks package allowed us to use, including the snacks) and a nespresso maker, which we used every morning. We found our excursion tickets, navigator, invitations to onboard events and black card gifts in the room everyday, including the first day. And shortly after entering the cabin, our room host knocked to introduce himself and see whether we needed anything. He was super friendly and nonintrusive and we appreciated him all week long. He delivered our luggage before 3 and we unpacked ready to truly begin vacation! Safety Drill: Because people embark everyday, the mandatory safety drill is different everyday. Ours was in the Deck 6 Theater and last about thirty minutes. This was our first introduction to just how many nationalities were sailing...the presentation was in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese. We were impressed by how many crew members spoke three or more languages and enjoyed listening to them throughout the week. Dining: Because we were Aurea, we had "My Choice" dining. Our dining room was the Panorama and the process was very easy. Simply decide what we want to do and show up at the dining room when we want to eat. We never waited for a table and had great waiters 5 of our 6 meals in Panorama. And the one miss wasn't anything terrible, just an okay server who maybe was having a bad night. The dinner menus change nightly and we never had a problem finding meals that appealed to us. The food was mostly very good with a few excellent items and a few less tasty items. Generally, we enjoyed the appetizers and entrees more than dessert. And with the premium plus package, although it's wine by the glass, not bottle, if my husband and I ordered the same wine, they automatically brought the whole bottle. Lounges: I'm a champagne drinker and enjoyed the champagne bar for a predinner drink most evenings. They offer a selection of cocktails and champagne and sparkling water...my favorite was the Veuve Clicquot Rich. They bring snacks like chips and nuts to the table (which our son enjoyed) and have a menu for charge available, too. The service was very friendly and professional. We used a few other bars for cocktails during the week with varying levels of service and atmosphere. There's a fabulous looking top deck 18+ lounge that we didn't use because we were sailing with our son, but definitely would have used if we were alone. Gym, game room and basketball court, etc.: So cool that they offer an indoor basketball court. Our son used it almost every evening for an hour. He met several other kids, enjoyed the view and got some exercise. My son and hubby also used the gym and found it adequate. We checked out games for free a few times from the activities desk, as well. We didn't bowl or do the ropes course. Next time! Entertainment: We enjoyed a few show onboard...the Opera, the Broadway medley and the flamenco dance performance. We booked our seats using our app. The theater was full, but not overcrowded and the performances were good. We enjoyed all three. The cruise director, who introduces the shows, is fabulous...great energy and personality. We also played bingo a few times (and yes, the numbers are announced in at least 7 languages!) It's only coverall, so one prize of at least !000 euro each game. We also went to one Cirque du Soleil show. That's not really our cup of tea, but we enjoyed the show and were glad that we gave it a try. Specialty Restaurants: Only tried one, Butcher's Cut, using our free Black Card dinner. All three of us matched Black, so there was no charge. The service was very good, as was the meal. The dessert here was excellent...a "cut" above the dining room, for sure! The atmosphere was okay, but I actually preferred the Panorama dining room in that regard. Spa: Although Aurea provided us with a week long pass to the thermal area, we never made it! We did, however, enjoy our complimentary 50 minute massages and I got a blow out three times during the trip. Again, friendly staff. Nice atmosphere. No complaints. Itinerary and Shore Excursions: This is really what the trip was all about....traveling comfortably through one of our favorite parts of the world. As noted, we embarked in Barcelona and sailed to Marseille, Genoa, Rome, Palermo and Malta, with one day at sea. We did a mix of MSC prebooked excursions and independent excursions. Our day in Rome on our own was probably my favorite, but we also really enjoyed our walking street food tour in Palermo (by Streaty) and our day in Marseille when we went to Ax en Provence with a ship’s excursion we spent two nights in Barcelona pre and post cruise. I highly recommend Sagrada Família and also very much enjoyed a day trip to Andorra. Final impressions: We were on a much needed break sailing the Mediterranean on a relatively new ship staffed with friendly people and in a fantastic stateroom. The weather was picture postcard perfect...upper 60’s and sunshine and the sea was calm. The champagne flowed and the onshore experiences were varied and plentiful. We enjoyed sail away from our private hot tub and were entertained by earnest performers in the evenings. The food was varied and tasty and the price was right. We’re not giving up n DCL, but we’re booked on another MSC itinerary. So glad we tried them and already looking forward to going back! Happy Sailing! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is a long review. It has a lot of info that I wish I knew before we went. We are a family of 4 from Ohio. This is our 5th cruise, first time on MSC. My wife and I (43 & 45) and our two girls (11 & 9) have sailed on ... Read More
This is a long review. It has a lot of info that I wish I knew before we went. We are a family of 4 from Ohio. This is our 5th cruise, first time on MSC. My wife and I (43 & 45) and our two girls (11 & 9) have sailed on Princess, Celebrity and NCL. This was probably the best cruise we have ever been on. We sailed on the MSC Meraviglia from Barcelona, Spain on 3/21/2019. We opted to stay one night in Spain before and after the voyage. We had the Fantastica package. We also traveled with our parents. Both pairs stayed in an inside cabin with the Bella package, one on deck 8, the other 5. Their experiences were similar to ours. Embarkation: We arrived to the cruise port at around 11:00 AM. We dropped our bags off at the entrance to the port. They had a stapler there in case you didn’t already attach your luggage tags as we did. Check in was easy. They gave us a numbered card and we had a seat until we were called, which took about 10 minutes. A couple of minutes in line and we were at the desk. We got our cruise cards and packet and were told that our room should be ready around 1:30. This left us plenty of time to eat lunch at the buffet and explore the ship. As we embarked, they took our picture for their computer ID system and gave our kids wrist bands which are required to be worn at all times. Room: Our room was 13163, Deck 13 Aft Port. We were right by the aft stairs in a Balcony cabin. We loved the location. It was a decent size room. The couch converted in to a bunk bed for the girls. We had a queen-sized bed. The bunk bed was not converted daily, but for us was a permanent bed and never a couch. All beds were comfortable. The room, although comfortable for the four of us, is still pretty small. Don’t plan on living out of your suitcase. It is much better to unpack and store the bags under the bed. Otherwise there will be no room to move. We use these convenient organizer bags where each person has their own color. That way we only have to half-unpack. We just stacked the bags in the closet and pulled out what we needed. There is a TV and a phone. There is not much to watch, and only 2-4 English speaking channels. Our room was pretty quiet, even for being only 2 decks down from the buffet and right next to the stairs. None of use were ever awoken by noise; even my wife who is a light sleeper. The bathroom was big enough for one person to fit comfortably, 2 to squeeze in. The shower is plenty big and gets super-hot. Be careful! Our room was attended to at least twice a day by the cabin steward who we only saw if we sought him out. He was very friendly and thorough. My wife was extremely sick one day (we suspect norovirus). I let the cabin steward know that our bathroom needed some additional attention. He seemed more concerned for my wife’s health than the extra work. He definitely earned an extra tip beyond our daily fee. The balcony was lovely with a couple of chairs and a small table. The railing was plenty high so were not at all concerned about our or our children’s safety. The door locked up tight to keep the noise out. My in-law’s room (8102) had a smell of some sort coming out of their bathroom drain. The crew came out and bleached it. That didn’t really help. My in-laws just lived with it. Dining: The buffets were awesome. Crowded, but awesome. Their pizza was excellent (as it should be from an Italian line). Everything was fresh and there was absolutely no shortage of food, except for bananas. There are 3 stations, one port, one starboard, and one aft. We usually didn’t have a problem sitting on the port side, which was the busiest side. But the aft portion we the most available and least crowded. On the port side, forward of the general buffet, is a kids’ buffet with hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, pizza, pasta, and various other daily items. My kids never used it and always ate from the regular buffet. There are water/ice dispensers there and also juice, tea & coffee. Bottled water, soft drinks & alcohol are available for purchase. As a general rule, the water/ice dispensers are too small to fill up your own water bottle and it is usually so busy that you will be holding up the line if you do it. I only filled ours when it was slow there or I would go all the way aft where it was much quieter. I used a cup to fill our bottles daily. We never had dinner at the buffet, only breakfast, lunch & snacks. There are hand washing stations at the entrance to the buffet. We had breakfast every day at the buffet. Some days as early as 7am, others as late as 10am. Every morning there was fresh and canned fruit, meats and cheeses, fried and scrambled eggs, omelet stations, bacon, sausage, cereal and milk, yogurts, bread, jams, and a ton of other stuff. Milk, coffee, tea, juices and water were available. If you want a banana, get there early. They go fast. The main lunch buffet had various cruise standard foods. Everything from pizza to pasta to fresh cut meats and deserts. They usually had an Asian, Indian or other ethnic food area. Their hamburgers were excellent. Water, coffee and tea were available. There is no free ice cream in the buffet or anywhere else on the ship except for the main dining room. The buffet staff was not particularly friendly, but not rude either. They had a job to do and they were going to do it. It didn’t affect our experience in any way. The buffet is mostly a free-for-all, but there is some flow. It was not nearly as bad as I had read on other sites. We never went hungry. Main Dining Room All 8 of us sat together. There are hand sanitizers on the way in to the dining room. Our waiter and his assistant were excellent. They also earned extra tips from all of us. Because we booked in North America, we had free bottled water in the dining room. There were 4 bottles on our table every night, and more if we needed it. He didn’t bother asking, he would just bring it. We shared a few bottles of wine over the course of the week. They were very reasonably priced and had a nice selection. Dinners were very good to excellent. We would usually order one or two appetizers and one entrée. There were always various selections of delicious desserts to choose from including ice cream every night. Only once did I have a second entrée because the first one was just not enough. The waiter knew it and suggested it right off the bat. He was very attentive and kind, especially seeing how busy he was every night. One night I stayed in the room with my daughter who was sick (again, probably norovirus). I went to the buffet for myself but there was nothing there she could eat. The dining room sent up some plain chicken for her. She didn’t eat it, but it was a nice gesture none the less. The food was very good and sometimes excellent. It always amazes me the quality they can produce when serving so many people. My youngest is not an adventurous eater, but always found something she wound up liking. If she only ate a few bites, the waiter was eager to bring her something more to her liking. We dressed for dinner every night like almost everyone else. I wore slacks and a button down; my wife would wear a nice dress or skirt. Two nights were “formal” nights. We did see one or two tuxedos, but most people did not change from whatever they wore the night before. I opted for a jacket and tie, which, in hindsight, was unnecessary. I could have stuck with the slacks and shirt or just added a tie and I would have been dressed completely appropriately. I would suggest no jeans, shorts or other casual clothes for any main dining room dinner. Activities & Entertainment We purchased a “fun pass” before embarkation. This gave us a $180eu credit for $120eu cost in their entertainment area. It wasn’t worth the money. We didn’t use it all. Things you must pay for: Flight simulator, F1 simulator, video games, bowling. The girls did the flight simulator and loved it. I did it once and it made me nauseous. I can’t take that movement anymore – spinning, rolling, flipping. It was all too much for me. I tried the F1 simulator. It was OK, but difficult to control. We bowled on our day at sea. That was fun. The high ropes course and water slides are free, but you have to sign a waver and get a wrist band before you can do them. The kids didn’t even do the water slides just because it was pretty chilly. We all did the ropes which was fun. You can go as much as you want. They close at 4:00pm though, so usually we were back to late to do them. The outdoor pools were nice, but again it was too cold to swim for us. A few people were swimming. We preferred to hang out in the hot tub or in the indoor pool. The indoor pool was crowded but warm. We only saw one show. It was a magic/shadow puppet show. I figured the magic would be cool, but the shadow puppets would be cheesy. It was the exact opposite. The shadow puppets were amazing and the magic was boring. We also sat and listened to music on deck 5 aft or 6 forward. It was very enjoyable. Frankly, we were too tire to go to any other shows. My parents went to a few others and really enjoyed them. Our package came with cirque du soleil, but we never made it. My kids had no desire to go to the kid’s club. They thought it looked too juvenile for them. They were probably right, but I can’t say for sure. They did make use of the soccer/basketball court. It is multi-use and there could be many people playing different games all at once. It was fine just to kick around a ball, though. My girls were never bored there (their words, not mine). Customer service We had only one problem which required customer service. They had charged our account twice for the same day’s daily fee for our children. It was an extra $10eu. It took two visits to correct. I also had the remove the $1eu they automatically charge you for Unicef. I don’t mind giving to charity, but I don’t like being forced in to it and I prefer to donate to a charity of my choosing. I also went to Customer service to exchange money. It is the best place for this. You get a MUCH better rate than at an exchange at a port or even at a bank. I highly suggest it. They don’t have much in small bills, though. They automatically charge $10eu per adult per day and $5eu per child per day for tip to be shared amongst the crew. You can opt out of this and tip personally in cash if you choose. We chose to let them charge our account and supplement where we saw fit. My mother was a bit upset when there was a man cleaning the ladies’ bathroom with guest using it. Elevators are always an issue. People will barge in front of you to get on. I had to stop people from forcing themselves in to a completely full elevator. We usually used the stairs during busy times. Ports Barcelona, Marsaille, Genoa, Rome, Palermo, Malta. Most ports we walked around at our own pace. Obviously, we spent a lot of time in Barcelona. Definitely don’t miss La Segrada Familia. It is truly a wonder. And if you want genuine FCB gear, go to the team shop. It’s not cheap, but it is authentic. We scheduled a private tour in Rome. They picked us up at 8:00am and brought to Gianicolo Hill, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, and Vatican. It was $300eu plus $30eu tip for the day for all eight of us in a private van. I talked to several others who paid that much for just 2 people. They saw more, but they were rushed from place to place. We were able to go at our own pace. I wish our driver Mario spoke better English. Fortunately, my father speaks Italian. It was totally worth the money. If you are interested, contact Albertina at tourromeitaly@gmail.com. In our opinion, Barcelona was the best. Marsaille for me was the worst, Palermo for my wife was the worst. Get out of the city of Palermo if you can. Go to Santa Rosalia or Monreale. In France, Notre Dame De La Guarde is beautiful. Malta was absolutely gorgeous, friendly and clean. Just beware of the taxis. They are expensive. If you have a chance, be on deck as you pull in the port of Valetta. It is a sight to see. There is not much in Genoa to see. We took a quick bus tour and then walked around the port by the aquarium. Be aware of pickpockets EVERYWHERE. We were not targeted, or at least we weren’t pickpocketed. But there are signs everywhere. Just stay aware. Don’t flash your wallet. Keep your purse close. Disembarkation Simple and easy. They took our bags the night before. We ate breakfast and headed to the meeting area. We sat for 20 minutes and then they took us off the ship. Our bags were waiting for us along with a line of taxis. Suggestions Wide mouth refillable water bottles are much easier to fill. Bring lots of hand sanitizer & sanitizing wipes. If you don’t generally have pockets like my wife and kids, I suggest some lanyards with card holders. They are convenient and secure. Wear comfortable shoes, especially in Rome. These ports are very old. Most of the time you are walking on uneven cobblestone or concrete. Shoes make the difference. Get a private tour from a reputable company instead of booking through the cruise line. There are plenty of suggestions and reviews on trip advisor. They understand that you need to be back at a specific time and will probably get you back with and hour to spare. Bring some plastic bags to make some sandwiches for a snack on shore, but don’t miss out on the local foods – tapas and jamon in Spain, Arancine in Sicily, and gelato everywhere… Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been cruising with other companies before so this is not my first cruise experience. But this is my first and last cruise experience with MSC. Pros and cons: Pros: (1) Beautiful interior - swarovski crystal stairs make it ... Read More
I have been cruising with other companies before so this is not my first cruise experience. But this is my first and last cruise experience with MSC. Pros and cons: Pros: (1) Beautiful interior - swarovski crystal stairs make it perfect for photos. The giant LED gallery on the 6th floor ceiling also stunning. (2) Cabin - my interior cabin has pretty good space and got tidy up very well daily which I appreciated. Bed is also very comfortable to sleep. (3) Spa - this one is exceed my expectation. I thought it is a small facility but end up, they have so many different rooms (ice, light steam, heavy steam, thermal, jet, sauna, salt, ....) I was so happy that I purchased the pass to use during my entire stay. Totally worth it! Cons: (1) Online account - after I booked the cruise from the travel agent, then I created an online account with MSCusa site (I am in USA). I wasn't able to login the site so I fill out the online form request to call back. No call or contact ever received. After several weeks, then I called the customer service and the rep said they don't know why and kept trying to transfer my call to different departments and eventually call disconnected. Still not resolved. Anyway, I'm done with this cruise company so no need to follow up. (2) Quality of food in buffet AND complimentary restaurants - It may seem there are plenty of complimentary restaurants to choose from, but they serve the same food (same menu actually). The quality of food served in dinner time by far is the worst I have ever had in my cruising experience. Meat are hard and dried; Fish/seafood not taste fresh ... the only dish I can recall that I was happy with is the risotto. After the 3rd night, I didn't have other choice but opt to the specialty restaurant which finally have decent quality of food and service. The quality of food is the main negative impact to my choice of cruising with them again. (3) Staff - You have to yield your way to them or they come straight at you, sounds odd, isn't it? I don't mind to yield my way if I am just causally walking around, but when I have food and drinks on my hand and people are behind and beside me, how can I yield? Also, I can sense how tired they are because I barely see the staff with energy nor smile. I hope the company treats them well and not overworked them because they should be the frontline passing the good/bad impression to the customer. (4) You better order drinks at dinner time because they don't have a cup of free normal water able to serve you. But you can get one for yourself in the buffet area. Arh, ok?! I didn't have much comment on entertainment and activities because of only one day at sea (thank God!) and I spent most of my evenings in the spa. But based on the comments from other cruisers I met, I didn't miss a lot. Last comment, would I choose this company again, I don't think so. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
After reading many reviews after booking nearly 12 months prior, it was with concern that I arrived dockside to begin my cruise. Wow was I wrong, one word sums up the greeting and embarkation, 1st Class quality.But, and it is a big but, I ... Read More
After reading many reviews after booking nearly 12 months prior, it was with concern that I arrived dockside to begin my cruise. Wow was I wrong, one word sums up the greeting and embarkation, 1st Class quality.But, and it is a big but, I have to confess I booked the Yacht Club experience. But and another big but, our experience was not limited to this area, in fact we spent most of our time aboard the ship in the general areas and used the Yacht Club to dine only. I will try to be brief,,, save, save and put off until you have enough to pay for the Yacht Club. Similar to the Haven on NCL the privileges it affords you are numerous beyond a room and dinning, which both where fantastic.For example waiting to embark after day excursions, long lengthy queues where avoided as you simply moved to the front.I am surprised by some reviews, the shows each night are great,even a afternoon operatic performance, The main promenade had dancing each evening and the local Europeans loved it, similar to RCL street party but for adults, the bars poured great cocktails,everyone meticulously measured and garnished so they tasted great,not just free pouring and be happy with this.All this was in the general ship, not the Yacht Club. The Buffet restaurant was super clean and fresh looking, three separate areas serving the same, but with a better breakfast choice than the a-la-carte Yacht club.I found the whole experience on par with Celebrity, but better as it had a European Flair Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I just finished my cruise trip embarked on Barcelona. I bought the Bella package with a balcony. That's my first time to travel in a cruise and I was quite satisfied with the amenities, services and entertainment on board. The ... Read More
I just finished my cruise trip embarked on Barcelona. I bought the Bella package with a balcony. That's my first time to travel in a cruise and I was quite satisfied with the amenities, services and entertainment on board. The cruise was beautiful and clean, and so the cabin. Thanks for the effort of the crew who made our beds every day and clean the balcony twice during the stau. Staff were generally polite, helpful and humorous. And the MC & PERFORMERS of the entertainment were energetic! I watched shows in the Broadway theater almost every day and they were all as excellent as the paid show by Cirque du Soleil. The aqua park and the rope facilities were fun. I spent my cruise day there without a moment of boredom. We were lucky that not much people were there as the weather was still quite chilly. Some setbacks were below: Similar to other comments, the cruise held 5000+ people, thus very often the public area esp. The indoor bamboo pools and jacuzzi were full of people. We managed to have "private" experience just because we went there at 930am. The buffet area ie market place was full of people from all ages at all time. But if u were early, u still manage to get seat at the window, which was definitely a better seating compared to the one assigned for you at the complimentary restaurant. (Unless you upgrade your package) The food at complimentary restaurants were so so. Not much variety n nothing luxurious. So i joined the dining package at 96 euro for 3 restaurants,namely Eataly, japanese restaurant kaito n Butcher cut. Eataly and Butcher cut were delicious yet the sushi from the package was overpriced and not worth it. (As an asian, i could tell the food was not fresh enough to be sashimi and no smoke salmon should be used for sushi roll lol) Quite a lot of things were charged items, e.g the drinks (even water!! at restaurants except marketplace , the virtual games, bowling, sauna, spa (tried the Bail massage, slightly more expensive than other spa experience outside but is their skills were up to standard.) Non alcoholic drink package costed 19euro per day per person which was really too ex to join == No external wine or beer were allowed so got to save the pocket money for that! Bingo was 10 euro per card which was again expensive compared to the casino games. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I went on a weeks cruise in january 2019 and we were a bit nervous because of the bad critics we have read. We both agreed that compared to Celebrity Cruise, MSC Meraviglia had much better food and much better varity of wine ... Read More
My wife and I went on a weeks cruise in january 2019 and we were a bit nervous because of the bad critics we have read. We both agreed that compared to Celebrity Cruise, MSC Meraviglia had much better food and much better varity of wine (including a lot of good european wines). The coffee was true italian style espresso - top quality. And the best is that it was served in almost every bar and restaurant. The ship was new and clean and the cabins in fine size. The skylounge bar is very cool and they make the best drinks and we also enjoyed the live music. The only thing we would have wished for was a little better space in the public areas and we missed a separat discotek. Seen from our point of view MSC is a serious and trustworthy company. All-in-all: We would like to try another of MSCs ship next time mainly because of the food and wine and friendly staff. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
For anyone considering MSC I thought I'd share my thoughts on my recent cruise. DH & I travelled from Dublin to Barcelona on 17th January to celebrate DH's 60th birthday. This was only our 2nd ever cruise, the first one ... Read More
For anyone considering MSC I thought I'd share my thoughts on my recent cruise. DH & I travelled from Dublin to Barcelona on 17th January to celebrate DH's 60th birthday. This was only our 2nd ever cruise, the first one being 3 years ago for our 20th anniversary on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas on an Eastern Med and Greek Island 10-day tour, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We booked through a local travel agent who are cruise specialists and were fantastic. Private taxi transfer from the airport to the ship (and back again) was part of the package which was great - though it is only about 15 mins away by car. We arrived about 11.30 and the waiting hall at the port was already quite busy when we arrived. About 12pm they started to board and we were on about 15 mins later. We were totally amazed by our first impression of the ship - she is stunning! We went straight to our cabin (deck 12 balcony cabin) and dropped in our cabin bags and headed straight for lunch in the market place buffet. Now our only previous experience on RCI was that the buffet was just 'ok', so we didn't have high expectations. However, this was in a different league altogether. Being an Italian company, they really know their pizza, pasta, salads :tongue: They also make fresh mozzarella which is delicious. They have a Rotisserie with different roast meats, different cold meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, yogurt, breads and pastries among many, many more dishes!! They have water, tea/coffee on tap and on each table is a call button to get waiter bar service. The drinks package came included in our balcony room deal, along with free WiFi. I would have happily ate every meal there - so much variety and everything I tried was delicious. We had a wander around the ship, taking photos and enjoying the sun with a wee cocktail (well, you have too, don't you ;) We had our mandatory drill at 5pm which takes a bit of time as they have to go through it in about 5 languages! There are 3 main dining rooms for dinner. You are pre-assigned to one and you can choose if you want early or late sitting. We chose late (7.30pm) so that we wouldn't be rushed out (I'd read reviews that the early sitting gets pushed through) but hadn't realised that our restaurant 'Waves' actually had an even later sitting (9.30pm) not that I'd have wanted to eat at that time, I guess it was mostly the Spanish and Italians as they are used to eating at that time. We were put at a table with 3 other English couples who had all cruised extensively and had great stories to tell. We thoroughly enjoyed our table mates and often were the last table to clear the restaurant! The food in the MDR was mostly good. Again, typically Mediterranean style, small portions but good choices and well presented. If you didn't like your chosen dish, they are only too happy to bring you another. Usually choice of 5 or 6 starters, mains and desserts. We also pre-booked the speciality dining experience on the website before we went. If you pre-book things like this, the drinks package, the Cirque shows they are cheaper that booking on board as you don't incur the 15% service charge. The speciality restaurants were great, especially Butcher's Cut steakhouse. My filet was the tastiest I've ever had - even better than Longhorns Flo's Filet!! The Italian restaurant was good, but not much choice on the dining experience menu and you can get just as good pasta in the buffet. The third part of the experience was Sushi. Now, I've never had sushi and was a bit apprehensive about it but the restaurant was always busy any time we walked past so I was looking forward to the new experience. We had arranged it for lunch the day we were at sea and I really did enjoy it. The only part I didn't like was the octapus - too chewy :confused2! The entertainment on the ship was good - not as good as RCI, but we still enjoyed Broadway performances, opera, Cirque du Soleil and much more. There is a heated indoor pool and jacuzzis. It was too cold for the outdoor pool but we did go in the outdoor jacuzzi which was lovely. There is a water park on the top deck, but again too cold to try out. I can imagine in spring and summer it is great! We had pre-booked MSC excursions for Marseille, Genoa, Sicily and Malta (didn't get off ship in Rome as we had done it on our other cruise). The excursions were good, but for Marseille and Genoa the bus was half English speaking and half German, so it wasn't ideal as the guide had to spend time translating things in English and German and often you'd be past the building our point of interest by the time she explained it in English! In Sicily and Malta it was all English speaking. We loved Malta and would definitely like to go back for a holiday. We felt the excursions were good value and informative. We enjoying going to different places and learning about the history in the area. Overall, we really enjoyed our MSC cruise - it was so different to our previous one. The first ship was much smaller and older (only 1400 passengers versus 5000 on this one). The MSC ship was absolutely beautiful, exceptionally clean and very good food and service. People on another cruise forum complained about many things, including service but we only experienced friendly, helpful staff. We had reason to visit guest services as our return flight was booked by the agent for 10.30am (arrival in Barcelona port was originally scheduled for 7am, so should have been ok for time). However, we received notification that we wouldn't be arriving until 8.30am. Our private taxi was booked for 7.45am so guest services rang our taxi company to try to change it for us but as it turned out, because we had booked through a travel agent they had to make any amendments on our behalf (which they did, re-booked for 8.45). Guest services checked us in to our Aer Lingus flight and printed boarding passes for us, so that we could go straight to bag drop once we arrived at the airport. They couldn't have been more helpful! I was shocked to see that most people in the queue were there to get the gratuities removed from their bill. On MSC 10 Euros per person per day is added for gratuities. I wouldn't dream of removing it unless there was a serious complaint, but it seems lots of people are getting it taken off, just because they can. Honestly, I've never seen a cleaner ship or more hardworking staff. I think they deserve every cent they get! We were also advised not to leave our luggage outside our room the night before disembarking but to take our cases with us in the morning. This worked really well, in that once we were allowed to disembark we were straight off the ship and in to the waiting taxi in less than 5 minutes. I would have no hesitation recommending MSC and would certainly cruise with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
As the title states this was a winter cruise on the continuous west med route starting in Barcelona and ending back there 7 days later. OK up front important news - The staff were brilliant throughout the ship and the modern systems all ... Read More
As the title states this was a winter cruise on the continuous west med route starting in Barcelona and ending back there 7 days later. OK up front important news - The staff were brilliant throughout the ship and the modern systems all worked well. After a dozen cruises I can report the staff were the best I have encountered and I was very surprised as this was a hop on hop off cruise where staff are usually stretched and stressed and sometimes less than cordial. Customer services queues were kept short at all times and staff numbers dealing with issues were the largest I have seen ( NOT LIKE PRINCESS!!) Very , very good and it makes such a difference. We had a balcony room at the rear. It was modern functional, smart and above all QUIET. It was an upgrade so no complaints at all. The ship can take 5714 customers and is huge . In winter with most of the deck and deck bars impossible to visit in the cold , my guess is that we were at about 80% capacity. Inside that is full enough. There are areas of the ship that are not available to ordinary fare payers, either staff or yacht club areas, so the number of public accessible decks in winter is about 6 and almost all activity takes place on 6 and 7 with customer services on 5. At this level of capacity the ship is OK. We managed to get a table for 2 in one of the 3 dining rooms but it was set for 4. The table for 4 people was far too small. Overall MSC have taken packing people into the dining rooms to it's physical limit with some very large oval tables cramming 10-12 people round them. This is not for me. Such a shame when the service and quality of the food was high. The ship design makes any privacy or quiet impossible, It is one long massive tube with no doors relying on design and sound control to give the impression of different areas. The exceptions are the pub and the shops and impossibly expensive special restaurants (empty) which are behind doors. On ship like MSC Lyrica you could listen to a classical trio in the library for a concert and it was magical. Now such performances are rare and are given in the centre of a roundabout with 3 lanes of heavy traffic going round - quite pointless. It is a truism that as ships get bigger and more modern, the number of chairs goes down. At peak time you cannot find a chair near a bar and if you are having a private drink you just have to allow other people to join you because people are desperate for a seat. People give up and go away. The strategy seems to be, sell the drinks packages hard and then reduce the speed of service in the bars, take a away the chairs and ensure people drink less. For me you would have to be crazy to buy a drinks package on this type of ship. The stress of paying , maybe in excess of 100 euros a cabin per day for 7 days and then having to fight for a seat and then wait for very slow service would be unendurable for me. So there it is. In fairness to MSC this cruise cost about the same as it did 10 years ago. By the way if you take this cruise in winter avoid Marseilles. We visited the old town. It was shut, unwelcoming, and very run down. Might be fine in the summer but it was a miserable experience and the worst stop I have ventured into. Take a trip or stay warm inside. Cocktails 8- 10 euros Bottles of wine from 23 euros and beer at 6.5 euros for 330 ml - all plus 15%. There was even a service charge on using your mini bar. Would I cruise on this ship again? Yes but only in winter. At capacity it would not be for me. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
OVERALL This was our first cruise on MSC so we were excited to try a new company after a couple of friends had recommended them. The ship itself is nice enough but found the many staff members to be quite rude. We visited some ... Read More
OVERALL This was our first cruise on MSC so we were excited to try a new company after a couple of friends had recommended them. The ship itself is nice enough but found the many staff members to be quite rude. We visited some excellent ports. Food was decent. Most shows were dreadful. We had a couple of good party nights where we could dance until late. As it was winter the indoor pool and pool area was packed with families (this is the only ship I’ve been on and not been in the pool). We decided that 4 days was enough on this ship and after that kept saying ‘MSC, not for me!’. EMBARKATION On arrival at Barcelona we were given a number and told to wait until our number was called. After a 20 minute wait our number was called and we went to the check in desk. The man on the check in desk was unfriendly. We showed our passports and signed documents even though we had previously filled out the online check in. Then we had to have our photo taken with a picture of the ship behind us (which were left in the cabin a few days later with a sticker on saying we will be automatically charged €29.99 unless we return them to the cabin steward within 2 days). We then queued to get onboard for another 10 minutes. We then showed our passports again to the security staff and then again to another member of staff who took our photo for our cruise card (even though we did this on the app before boarding). Finally on the ship and we were shepherded through some bar staff who asked for our card and swiped it on their tablet computer and said ‘That’s ok’. We asked what he was doing and he said he was checking we had a drinks package. We had paid for a drink package online so we asked what drinks we could have. He swiped our card again and said the drink package we paid for no longer exists and would be somewhere between package A & B and that we would have to ask if we could have certain drinks each time we ordered them. We had requested late sitting for our dining and as the time of 7.30pm was printed on the card we went to have a look at the dining room and see if we could change to a freedom dining or a later sitting. At the dining room we were ignored for a while and when finally spoken to, told as we weren’t in a suite we could not have freedom dining and we had to go upstairs to the other dining room if we wanted to make any changes. We decided not to change our time as the the later sitting was 9.30pm and the staff so far had been so unhelpful it wouldn’t be worth trying. First impressions not so good. CABIN We had an inside cabin 12054 which was the only inside cabin available when we booked. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of space to put stuff for a 7 night cruise. It was quite dark and could do with better lighting. The room was very noisy, lots of banging & knocking and could hear the family in the room next door. DINING We only ate in the Marketplace buffet and main dining room. There aren’t any other places that we found where the food was included but there were quite a few pay extra restaurants. The Marketplace buffet was very busy at lunchtime. We never had breakfast onboard so can’t comment on that. We would usually lunch here after a gym session so around 12.30pm. You would quite often be barged into by somebody. The food was good. A large variety of foods like pizza, salad, Mexican, pasta, roast meat or fish. Our biggest gripe is that even though there were many hand wash basins at the entrance nobody was being encouraged to wash their hands which meant that you rarely saw people actually doing it. My wife and I washed our hands before each meal but would spend time going from sink to sink to find a soap dispenser with soap in as they either didn’t work or were empty. The main dining room food was good. Our waiters were attentive and friendly. The Italian foods were the best, like risotto and pasta. We had roast turkey one day which was very bland. Apple tarte tatin was excellent. The water was all poured from plastic bottles which in this day and age is a bit of a no no. The tap water would’ve been ok for us but this wasn’t provided anywhere onboard. ONLINE BOOKINGS We had many emails to remind us to book everything before we boarded the ship so prior to boarding we checked in online, paid for a drinks package, booked tickets for both Cirque Du Soleil shows and paid for the week pass to the thermal spa. Most of this was completely pointless and a waste of our time. We had to check in normally at the check in counter in Barcelona and even show our passport 3 times before getting onboard. With the online check in you have to take a photo of yourself for your cruise account but this also had to be done onboard the ship. The lengthiest check in of any cruise we’ve been on. The drinks package had changed from the one we had booked leading to much confusion with the bar staff and us constantly having to ask what we were allowed to have. Cirque Du Soleil tickets do NOT get booked for you when you book online even though you book a date and time of show. We had a note in our cabin a couple hours after getting to the room asking us to go to the Cirque Du Soleil desk. Another 30 minute queue to get to the front. I was told that it is easier for me to book these shows whilst onboard even though I’d already booked them. I asked the lady to tell me the times and dates that I had previously booked as I couldn’t remember and they suited us. The reply was ‘you tell me what time you want and I will see if is available’. I then rebooked the shows. The person being served beside me was being talked into buying a package of restaurants and Cirque with dinner. They were there a long time before me and were still being seen to when I left and the queue had doubled in size. The thermal spa was the only thing we booked online that made it onto the ship. APP The MSC For Me app worked pretty well when onboard. I couldn’t get it to work in the check in hall but worked all round the ship when connected to the ships wifi (no charge). It shows all the activities going on that day and you can book seats for the shows in the theatre. I couldn’t check my account which is advertised, I had to check this on the tv in the room. HIMALAYAN ROPES BRIDGE Great fun to try. We chose a day when the wind wasn’t too high. Legs were quite shaky after completing a couple of rounds. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL The Cirque show lounge is located at the far side of the very smoky casino. We held our breath and rushed through. Who wants to get dressed up for a night out and end up stinking of smoke in this era? Not us! We paid €15 each to see the “Sonar” show which was great. It comes with a cocktail too. There are amazing balancing acts & beat boxing. We had also paid to see the “Viaggio” show however the day we were supposed to see it the show was cancelled and replaced with “Sonar” again. I phoned the Cirque desk to get a refund and was told we could just see the next Viaggio. The next show was on our debarkation day so again I asked for a refund to my credit card as that was how I paid for it. I was quite rudely told this wasn’t possible but I could have onboard credit instead and get that refunded. That proved to be an exhausting process on our final evening. 3 trips to the main desk and the refund machines each and finally we had the cash back. Despite the shows being advertised as being on 6 days each week it was only on 5 days. This meant Viaggio was only on once during the week so we missed it. THEATRE SHOWS The only show we enjoyed was “Paz”, the flamenco & Spanish dance show. “Show of Hands Magic” was a magic show straight from the 70’s. It was supposed to be sleight of hand but you could see everything. He lit a cigarette and blew the smoke into bubbles, with kids watching. The performer left the stage to get a puppet for the ventriloquist’s section so we took the opportunity to leave. “Virtual”, a show about mobile phone overuse (while half the audience were videoing it on their phones) started well but got more and more irritating. “Way” had a good bit from Dirty Dancing. “One Day More” with songs from musical theatre was bad especially the bit from Oklahoma. We waited until the end for the Les Mis songs but they sang the wrong song to the music that was playing. The dancers are very good but it is really difficult to understand the singers. It was quite comical trying to understand what they were singing about. AUREA SPA The thermal spa was our favourite part of the ship. We went in nearly every day. There are 2 steam rooms, 2 saunas, 2 spa pools, an ice room, hot and cold sensory showers and some heated beds. Each day we spent at least an hour in there. We were told we had to wear swimming costumes but 1 day there was a naked lady walking around (much to the amusement of some of the men). On the day at sea the spa was heaving and many of the rooms were quite cool as people kept opening the doors and not shutting them. GYM We used the gym every morning. I cycle and my wife runs. The gym is good. It has treadmills, bikes, weights, weight machines, etc… Our last day was a (rainy) sea day and the gym was packed. There was only 1 towel left on the shelf but we couldn’t get a treadmill or bike so we went for a walk on the running track instead. PORTS OF CALL We really enjoyed Genoa, Palermo and especially Valletta. Each port we did our own walking tour as the towns are easily walkable from the port. In Valletta we paid to be close to the noon gun canon which was a great experience. Getting back on board in each of these ports involved at least a 30 minute queue to get through the scanners which we’ve never experienced before. We once had somebody complaining on a P&O ship because we had to wait 2 minutes in the sun to get onboard, they would’ve had a huge tantrum on this ship. FELLOW PASSENGERS The majority of guests onboard are Italian & then there were a mix of other nationalities. We found many guests to be quite rude especially during the theatre shows. So many people were talking loudly, videoing the whole performance on their phones and using flash photography. I don’t know how the performers can cope with this. We always went to the 10pm show and people were still arriving at 10.25pm trying to find seats and generally getting in the way of the other guests watching and shouting to each other. The shows were only 40 minutes long so why not just sit at the back for 15 minutes. On our first evening I went to the toilet and I could hear somebody swearing outside the door of the toilet (there were no urinals in this particular toilet). When I came out the man said “Thank f*** for that” and burst into the loo , sat down and started pooping with the door wide open and he was still swearing but in relief this time. Another evening we were sat at the bar in the Meraviglia lounge and a group from the MSC Yacht club were ordering champagne and were constantly knocking into my wife and I. When they returned for a second bottle and kept knocking into us again we decide it was time to go. We saw an irate man telling his kids off as they’d been playing and woken their baby brother. He grabbed his childs hands, put them behind the boys neck and rammed him head first into my wife’s stool making it tilt. I told the man he was out of order but I don’t think he understood me. He then carried on telling off his son and hit him round the head. Again I told him stop. This was followed by a huge row with his wife right behind our chairs. I asked them to stop arguing or move elsewhere but they didn’t even acknowledge me. We moved in the end. CONCLUSION We had some good experiences on this ship but we had so many bad ones. Every day there were more disappointments. We will never try MSC again as the staff can be rude, the pushy sales tactics and awful shows. There is a muster drill every port day with announcements being made ship wide as guests can embark at any port. Trying to relax around the ship, your cabin or the spa is impossible whilst this is going on. The ship was very smoky as the smoking in the casino oozes to the bars surrounding it and people smoking on balconies meant the corridors would often stink of it too. MSC, not for me!!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Cruise in NEITHER a 1 nor a 5...realistically closer to a 2. Best NOT to view this as a cruise ... better to invision as a hotel with meals and transportation to locations. Ship has 5700 passengers and a crew of another 1500.....word ... Read More
Cruise in NEITHER a 1 nor a 5...realistically closer to a 2. Best NOT to view this as a cruise ... better to invision as a hotel with meals and transportation to locations. Ship has 5700 passengers and a crew of another 1500.....word to the wise! Ship passangers are 80 percent Italian. Large groups of Chinese. Also Germans, French, Japanese, Russians and other nationalities. Very few British and virtually no American. Everything is translated into all languages. Ship is loaded with screaming, yelling, pushing and rude passengers. Noise level is so intense that it is pervasive in all areas of the ship. Its so bad that all you wish to do is go back to your cabin to avoid the noise. Loads of young children (who should be in school during the middle of January) and tons of kids in strollers all over the ship. Difficult to move and navigate across the ship at ALL times. Hoards of people/groups who take over everything. Good: 1. Embarkation (and Disembarkation) in Barcelona was excellent. 2. Ship is new and clean … inside front of ship cabin was clean and enough room for 2 people. Common ares nice and spacious but limited seating for people. 3. Shore excursions were good and reasonable priced. Many options to chose from. 4. Cirque de Soleil shows (2) were superior. Dont miss them. 5. Cities/Countries visited were perfect; Barcelona (SP), Marseilles (FR), Genoa (IT), Citivechhia (IT), Palermo (Sicily IT) and Valetta (Malta) 6. Our Main DIning Room Waiter was very good. 7. All Entertinment Shows in Broadway Theater were TOPS! Best ever seen on a cruise ship. 8. Bar singers and musicians were very good. THATS WHERE THE GOOD ENDS. Bad: EVERYTHIN ELSE! 1. Cruise staff is Rude and unprofessional. I had a Guest Service Rep even walk away in the middle of our conversation due to the end of her shift. Staff could generally care less about helping or servicing your needs. Total retraining required .. if they ever had any to begin with! 2. Lowball price to get you onboard and then everthing else is pay-pay-pay. All charges in Euors so 15% higher than in USD $.. 3. Drink packages are daily charge per person per day but they dont make that clear. Also packages are VERY EXPENSIVE...buyer beware!!! 4. Buffet food is low quality and more like hospital or prison food. With that being said, the fresh pastries at breakfast and freshly made mozerella are the best menu items. Even the Pizza was marginal. Everything else, including other Italian food on an Italian ship, is largely VILE! Did I say the food was LOW QUALITY!!!!! 5. Feeding frenzy at Buffet ... all time and every time. Groups of people pushing and shoving, People RUNNING everywhere and grabbing food like there is either no food left in their own country OR they believe that the ship will run out of food! Expect to be jostled and shoved and hit into your person at any given moment. 6. Main Dining Room food is slightly better quality than buffet but also lower class. Portions are very small so you must order atleast 2 appetizers OR a few main courses! Noise level in MDR is oppressive do to loud, screaming Italians. Totally ruins the meal experience. Dining rooms located in rear (AFT) os ship so you have to travel across the entire lengthy ship to eat at every time if your cabin is in the front of the ship. 7. Two Cirque de Soleil shows - We booked Dinner/Show packages but they also offer Cocktail/Show Packages. Dinner package tables are in worse location for viewing than Cocktail package locations. At one show which we booked 1 week prior, we were seated at a worse table location than someone who just walked up and bought their dinner show package 10 minutes before the show itself! NOT SMART AND NOT FAIR! 8. The ship is a massive ATM. There is a constant attempt to sell passangers something every waking minute on the ship. Also, everything you purchase is subject to a +15% (Euro) Surcharge! 9. People are smoking all over the ship .. EVEN THOUGH THE SHIP IS NON SMOKING IN 95% OF ALL AREAS. Not one crew member did anything to discourage people from walking around and smoking everywhere in public areas or even elevators. STUPID STUPID STUPID! To summarize, MSC Meraviglia has many positive aspects but it is a European ship for the Eurpean market and NOT for the American market. To that end, you have to be prepared for a miserable experience with passengers. The cruise ship does a 7-day round trip to each city and people are constantly getting on and off the ship at every port. We embarked and disembarked in Barcelona, which was excellent, other points of on & off were problematic. Ticket prices are low to entice you onboard and then the upsell for everything begins and is nonstop for the entire cruise. Ship entertainment was superior. Ship food was LOW CLASS and mostly TERRIBLE. The one giant dessert buffet day was nice but did not make up for the other 6 days of miserable food. (By the way MSC bills their trip as having Gourmet Food- I guess if you are in a prison this IS Gourmet Food!. NEVER SETTING FOOT ON AN MSC SHIP AGAIN EVEN IF THEY PAID ME!! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise allows passengers to embark and disembark at any port on it's route. That means no embarkation day and no debarkation day. The good news with that is that you're not fighting a big crowd at your point of embarkation ... Read More
This cruise allows passengers to embark and disembark at any port on it's route. That means no embarkation day and no debarkation day. The good news with that is that you're not fighting a big crowd at your point of embarkation and debarkation, and most of the first day stuff that might normally be mobbed, like ship-card management kiosks, aren't particularly busy. Embarkation and Debarkation were both very smooth. The bad news is that there is a muster drill every single port day with the blowing of the horn and the very long announcements, and you're not part of a cohort so if you like making cruise friends, they may be leaving much sooner than you are. We chose to embark in Barcelona to enjoy a couple of days in the city on either end of the cruise. This was a great call, we LOVE Barcelona and it is an awesomely easy terminal to access and move through. This is one big ship! At full capacity with guests and crew it can hold almost 7,000 people, but somehow it rarely felt that crowded. There is a lot to say about the experience so I will do my best to take it in categories and not to get too tangential. Our overall rating? 7.5/10, would cruise again but only if we got an awesome deal. Much of the lost points had to do with culture differences, language barrier, and frustrations with the European vs US idea of customer service. Without further delay ... let’s get reviewing! The ship itself is BIG but not super accessible. There are some annoying choke points that get clogged up and can’t be avoided (like exiting the theaters) and the the deck plan makes it somewhat difficult to navigate overall. There were actually entire areas we never even bothered going back to after we did our embarkation exploration because we couldn’t seem to find them again despite having a whole week on board. That said, the ship is gorgeous. It’s main atrium has a curved ceiling made of LED panels they call “The Dome” and each evening they do a brief Dome Show. It sounds cheesy but it was actually very cool. The signature Swarovski crystal staircases definitely add wow factor. We found our aft facing cabin very comfortable with an awesome and spacious balcony (cabin #10374). Book these rooms only if you enjoy the motion of the ship because you will feel it. It happens that we love it. The only issue was that it was all the way aft and there are no aft elevators, so it was a long enough walk that I definitely had a “if I forgot it, I don’t need it” mentality. Note: Smoking is still extremely common in Europe and a lot of people were smoking on their balconies which will waft up to yours and the corridors often smell of smoke. The casino is technically the only indoor smoking area and the ventilation is garbage and you must walk through to get to the Carousel Lounge, which is where they have the Cirque du Soleil show. Not judging anyone’s choices, but something to note for those who are sensitive to the smell or who worry about second hand smoke. Now on to everybody’s big question: how was the food? (A quick note, I am a vegan and my husband is not, but we are writing this together. Obviously a big factor for me is dietary accommodation and I also try to include allergen sensitivity in my review). This ship was good about allergen warnings but not very good at the distinction between vegan/vegetarian. I have noticed that for many cruise staff on all cruise lines, all allergies or dietary restrictions = gluten free, which is annoying but I do appreciate the effort. **TL;DR, food is hit and miss, dining room portions are very small.** In some specific areas the food was exceptional - the breads and pastry were all absolutely delicious (RIP my waistline), and all the mozzarella used/served is made fresh onboard. The house-made sorbets and ice creams were also excellent. Cured meats and cheeses were gourmet quality and there was very good selection. Buffet is open most of the day with solid variety and tasty food. Dinner Misc Notes- we ate in one of the complimentary dining rooms (Panorama) and found that unfortunately most of the mains were a bit disappointing. For those who are American you may find the portions pretty small as all dining is very much in the European style where you eat small plates at meals and supplement that by enjoying a bite with coffee or a hard drink in between meals. European meals are also often later than American ones, so it’s more like a pastry in the morning, lunch between 1-3 and dinner between 7:30 and 9:00. Be sure to sign up ahead of time for a seating you want or you could get stuck with a very late seating or a very early one. In the dining room the good news is that they had an entree option marked vegan at each dinner. Bad news is they were pretty bad - either very teeny but ok or sufficient but fried (I just don’t like deep fried food). One evening I was served 3 little pita points with about 2 tbsp of hummus and 2 tbsp of babaganoush. Suffice to say I came hungry and left...cranky and ended up having a protein bar back in the cabin. Although I was never in danger of starving or anything like that, it did not exactly make me feel like I was on vacation having a fine dining experience. BUT! All was not lost! After the hummus incident of 2019, the dining manager made me aware that they can do a 2 dish Indian entree every night if the menu option is no good. I ate that the rest of the trip (4 dinners) and it was delicious. My husband’s meals were ok, standouts include the escargot in puff pastry appetizer, and also the steak dinner served at the Cirque Du Soleil experience (extra fee). Desserts were very disappointing with the exception of ice creams and sorbet. We also had a major problem getting coffee served with our dessert, apparently this is not a thing that is common in Europe and so they would have to brew an entirely new pot, which is lovely except that the dessert was served long long before the coffee so you’re done or you’re waiting while the room empties out. Most of the service issues were things like this - simple requests from a U.S. perspective that required scrambling for a euro style dining setup. Not a deal breaker but definitely noticeable service hiccups and the staff was visibly annoyed. Breakfast - We attempted breakfast in the dining room the first two mornings but found the service to be a problem for getting to our excursions on time and there was no vegan option. Some classic dishes like eggs benedict were not done very well and so we preferred the buffet for breakfast, it has good options for just about anyone. The buffet is usually a zoo but that is true of every ship we’ve been on and it just comes with the big-ship territory. After hours: like most ships, pizza is available almost all the time and they also offer mini sandwiches (bocadillos), well into the evening along with fresh fruit and some small dessert bites. Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry! Entertainment: the shows were 50% awesome and 50% good-not-great. Again, full disclosure, we are very spoiled because we are near NYC and usually see shows on Broadway, so we have high expectations. The production quality was very solid and they went all out on the costuming - it had a distinctly eurovision look: gowns, headdresses, sequins, and omg so many costume changes! The dancing was excellent, there were 2 or three very very good singers and overall the performing was strong. The dancers were awesome. One problem we had was that the singers were largely Italian and so when they cover American broadway, rock, and pop classics the accent is very very noticeable. Big props though, not easy to sing in English while also trying to do right by a well known hit song. We had Cirque Du Soleil included with our cruise fare and it was great - definitely worth attending. Each night there was an interactive “party” in the main atrium and we found them to be lots of fun. If you attend the show you are pretty much released right into the party. I had the opportunity to spend an hour in the thermal suite, which was very impressive! Many rooms and different temperatures to choose from, including a temp variation rain shower path. I enjoyed it very much. We also took advantage of foosball and the “Himalayan Bridge” ropes course, and the gym facilities. If you are a gym goer, don’t forget weights are marked in Kilograms! I wasn’t thinking at 6am and got a big surprise when I tried to just pick up a “20”! There were many many more activities and things to do that we didn’t get to but which looked really great. We did a shore excursion in every port and had a good experience, and we definitely recommend the MSC excursions. If you're still with me here, you must have had a snickers because this ran LONG. If you choose to cruise this ship I hope you have a wonderful trip - we definitely did! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Ship is beautiful Captain and senior staff should be fired! Ship was filthy I have never been on a cruise ship where they weren’t constantly spraying sanitizer on your hands. NOT ONE TIME did I see anyone spraying hands with ... Read More
Ship is beautiful Captain and senior staff should be fired! Ship was filthy I have never been on a cruise ship where they weren’t constantly spraying sanitizer on your hands. NOT ONE TIME did I see anyone spraying hands with anything! People all over the buffet coughing etc. on 3rd day of this floating bacteria petry dish and already one of our group is sick with diarrhea and vomiting. Sitting here waiting on my turn.....Walls and doors filthy with smudges, etc. DISGUSTING. Put all that aside: 1. Premium ALL YOU CAN DRINK package does not include juice or drinks in Cirque show (or some other areas) 2. So many yummy places to eat on board! Problem is all cost extra! 3. Lovely chocolate bar - bring your euros because not included 4. Who doesn’t like Gelato? Better have money! Cruise over 3 times a year on average - no allegiance to any line. First time on MSC - NEVER AGAIN - Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We booked this to give our legs a rest from our tour of Europe with a view to getting rested and primed for the next leg and beyond, but we didn't count on the wonderous sights we would miss if we didn't get off the ship at each ... Read More
We booked this to give our legs a rest from our tour of Europe with a view to getting rested and primed for the next leg and beyond, but we didn't count on the wonderous sights we would miss if we didn't get off the ship at each port. We travelled on the cruise as 'upgraded' guests in the 'Yacht Club', and, from the very moment we arrived at the terminal in Barcelona, the Yacht Club staff made us feel reaĺly special. Now, I'm not used to being upgraded, so I asked why. I was told that Australians and Americans are frequently upgraded so we can go back home and tell our families and friends about the experience. Well, they've got that right. I'm all over this. The 'Yacht Club' is a section of the ship, on the highest decks, right up front. Now I can hear everyone now saying, "But the middle of the ship is the calmest when there's a big swell". Now let me clear this up right now. This ship is, as I understand it, the 3rd biggest cruise ship in the world at roughly 167,000 tons displacement. Furthermore, it's a modern ship which is very able to smooth out any of the, err, bumps if you like, that the Mediterranean throws her way. It's huge and it looks it from anywhere you can see it. It dwarfed every other ship I saw, and that's enough about the ships size. The 'Yacht Club' is essentially a no go zone for anyone who isn't travelling as a Yacht Club passenger. For us it felt a little, or maybe a lot above our pay grades but we soon settled in. It wasn't difficult at all. I was worried I'd not know how to deal with a 24 hour concierge and butler service, but heh, they were really nice people who made me feel that we should utilise their services, so I did. The cabin was really comfortable, especially after I asked for and got the extra pillows of which there were multiple types to choose. In the Yacht Club, all the drinks are complimentary. They got off light with me since at 63 years of age I don't over do the alcahol. They might have regretted upgrading me 25 years ago. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was ... Read More
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was one of the best experiences we have had on any cruise ship. The staff in all areas of the ship were always helpful and friendly. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed two production shows and both of the Cirque performances. Getting on and off of the ship in Barcelona could not have been more simple and easy. It actually is much better when people can get on and off at each port of call. Seems to avoid the masses when a cruise begins and ends for everyone in the same place. We found the food and drinks to be very good with plenty of variety. We do understand that some people get angry when they are charged for the specialty restaurants and other things around the ship, but you should know that before you book the cruise. There's really not any surprises. There is a reason why the cruise fare is much lower than the competitors and you are not obligated to spend money for all of the extras. This cruise was full of so many different people from all over the world and most seemed to be having a great time, so if you are thinking about sailing on the Meraviglia, you really will love it! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have been loyal to Royal for years but this cruise was such good value we gave it a go, and we had a great time. We went with an open mind recognising that each cruise line will have its own characteristics and MSC would not be exactly ... Read More
We have been loyal to Royal for years but this cruise was such good value we gave it a go, and we had a great time. We went with an open mind recognising that each cruise line will have its own characteristics and MSC would not be exactly the same as RCL. Firstly the ship, as many have said, is stunning, we found it clean throughout and lots of choice in the venues. The cabin, we were inside bella on deck 10, was spacious but had no furniture, I missed the small sofa. It did have the largest shower we have had at sea. Both the bathroom and bedroom would benefit from more storage. our steward Gusti was very attentive. Food - we ate every evening but one in the main dining room, Panorama. After the first night we asked to be moved to a round table as that suited our family better and from that point Gerlin and Anil looked after us very well indeed. We engaged with them and they with us and it made for a great dining experience, head waiter Jeannot was also very attentive and kept a close eye on everything. we all enjoyed the food. Butchers Cut - we ate dinner here for a family celebration and it exceeded all expectations - wonderful food. Entertainment - the team work extremely hard and the activities throughout the day and night suited us perfectly, quizes and dancing. Parties on the Promenade were a great success and we surprised ourselves by partying well past our usual bedtime. There is a variety of musical artists in the venues around the ship, hopefully a style for everyone or karaoke for your own style. I thought there were more drinks servers on MSC in the bar/lounge venues than on RCL and we had great service all round. Again we took the time to talk to staff they were very friendly and spoke with us anytime we met up during the cruise. We saw a couple of shows in the theatre, and even the ventriloquist was funny although so many languages was a challenge to listen through and still get the comedy. We saw Cirque show Sonor, and while appreciating the skills involved I think for us we chose the wrong show. it was very futuristic and the more traditional Viaggio may have suited us better. The cocktails offered are a bit strange. We had status matched our Crown and Anchor to Voyagers club black prior to going but did not receive all the benefits during the cruise, we are still not sure how that is intended to operate. We got a voucher for thermal area and meal in restaurant, vouchers arrived on different days at beginning of cruise, we kept waiting for the rest of the listed benefits but they didn't come, we asked for the chocolate ship on our last night and they seemed surprised we had not received, so we may have just been unlucky. Our itinerary was disrupted due to weather which was unfortunate - both in terms of not seeing the ports we wanted and in terms of the bad weather itself. Embarkation and disembarkation for us in Barcelona went smoothly. Our overall verdict - pleasantly surprised having read other reviews. We really enjoyed the whole experience and will not hesitate cruising with MSC again if the itinerary and price are right for us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a great time at MSC Meraviglia, so much that we're going to its sister Belissima, again. Pros: - Bars. The champagne bar was above the atrium band, so we could enjoy a nice bottle of sparkling wine in a quiet ... Read More
We had a great time at MSC Meraviglia, so much that we're going to its sister Belissima, again. Pros: - Bars. The champagne bar was above the atrium band, so we could enjoy a nice bottle of sparkling wine in a quiet environment, while listening to the music. The pub had a great selection of beers. The piano bar had some nice drinks and an amazing view of the pool area and of the cities. - Spa area. Several types of saunas with modern design. This is enough reason to go to this ship, in my opinion. A notch above spas in any other cruise line, with finnish a sauna, and low-temperature sauna. A mini-con is that the spa pools were smaller than usual. - Some kinds of food were great. Fresh mozzarella every day, excellent bread and the best pizza at sea (which is still not great pizza, but better than american crap). - Cirque du Soleil shows were amazing! - Buffet area was well structured, and we were always able to get a table. Cons: - Dinner tables on the main dining room were too close to each other. As an introvert trying to relax, I was always contemplating how horrible it would be the day somebody sat near my table and started trying to engage in conversation. - Things close too early on, and there is nothing to do at midnight. On Harmony of the Seas, for example, you could get a hot tub at 2AM. - Food quality is average. Although there were some nice dishes, most of the food was average. Not horrible, but average or disappointing. For example, one night I ordered a prime rib, but then got a slice of prime rib that was probably cooked immersed in liquid, not on a grill. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Me and wife wanted to go somewhere special for our first marriage anniversary. Heard of this cruise from a friend and then started the research work. We, first, did our research on the ports where the cruise will take halts, and then the ... Read More
Me and wife wanted to go somewhere special for our first marriage anniversary. Heard of this cruise from a friend and then started the research work. We, first, did our research on the ports where the cruise will take halts, and then the cruise itself. As many of you still wondering,we too saw a great number of negative reviews. This resulted in us thinking of changing our plans. But a friend of mine suggested to just ignore the reviews and go for it. I took the risk and it was worth every penny. We embarked the cruise from Barcelona. As soon as we entered the port terminal, we were greeted by the MSC staff. They were helpful in explaining the process of embarkation, the steps we need to do as son as we enter the ship etc. The check-in process took less than 10 minutes. They took our check-in luggage to deliver it to our stateroom and issued a cruise card for both of us. As soon as we entered the ship, we were in complete awe. The first thing that caught our eye was the LED Dome. It was enormous and lit with beautiful paintings. The central part of this floor( floor 6) was even more beautiful with amazing stairs, bar options and musicians in the center. We opted for the 'Fantastica Balcony' stateroom. The room clean and tidy with an amazing view. The bathroom had a soap dispensor at the wash-basin and a body-wash+shampoo dispensers in the bathing area. We mostly ate in the buffet section, called the 'Market Buffet' on 15th floor. It had plenty of options for 20 hours a day. We pre-booked all our excursion tours from MSC. There were plenty of options for each port. Some of our tours went really well, and others not(mostly due to the bad weather conditions). We tried all bars present inside the cruise. Their prices were slightly a bit on a higher side, but the drinks and ambiance was great. The best bar to sit in and enjoy your time was the Meraviglia Lounge. You can go there any time of the day and there was some hustle bustle around it. You can't get bored if you are sitting there. And if you want to just chat and relax while drinking, Brass Anchor Pub was apt for it. Our package also include a booking of Dinner and Show 'Cirque du Solei' and it was epic. It was the most entertaining hour of our trip. Do not Miss it. Didn't go for any Broadway Show, but heard pretty good reviews from fellow travelers. In the end, I just want to specially mention the staff of MSC. They are the real stars. All the waiters/waitresses, entertainers, musicians, chefs etc. They are always smiling and ready to help even when they have such hectic working hours. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were concerned about the likely service, food etc - having read many poor reviews and bad comments. But our experience was almost nothing but everything was fine. We were very content. The ship's customers were much more heavily ... Read More
We were concerned about the likely service, food etc - having read many poor reviews and bad comments. But our experience was almost nothing but everything was fine. We were very content. The ship's customers were much more heavily Asian and of course there were plenty of Italians. Their nature is not to 'stand back' and wait patiently in line, unlike the Brits or Americans they certainly don't say 'after you' - so that was noticeable. The ship was immaculate and is quite stunning, good lifts, restaurants, bars, our steak in 'Butcher's Cuts' was one of the best we have ever tasted! Restaurant food was good, not five or six star, but good. The Panorama restaurant was very smart and very good indeed (and spacious) the Marketplace Buffet could be crowded and rather noisy (but no worse than Celebrity, RCL or NCL) and we always found a table without difficulty. The evening entertainment was overall very good, the Cirque du Soleil very good. Lively and good fun. The ship went to Marseille, Genova, Palmermo (had to miss Malta because of a storm) but then Palma de Mallorca. Our only adverse comment is that there are no staff positioned so that all that enter a restaurant have to use anti-bacterial gel hand cleaner. There is therefore a risk, we suggest that needs to be changed. Finally, the big question: would we book with MSC again : Answer: Definitely. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We have cruised with MSC before and were really looking forward to repeating out previous and wonderful experience. Not to be. We travelled from Aust to Milan, bus to Genoa and were put in a grotty hotel - which was under renovation, ... Read More
We have cruised with MSC before and were really looking forward to repeating out previous and wonderful experience. Not to be. We travelled from Aust to Milan, bus to Genoa and were put in a grotty hotel - which was under renovation, sanding and painting going on and building surrounded by scaffolding. We met several other Aussie couples doing the same cruise. They had paid for interior rooms or ocean view, we paid top dollar to indulge ourselves after returning to work fulltime at out ages 65 and 69 for the previous 6 months just to pay for this trip. All the other Aussie were upgraded to a balcony cabin on Deck 14 and we on Deck 12 - as far aft as ya can get! They in mid ships. They paid $6,999 aus each and we $9,999 aus each. So in essence we paid $6,000 more than any other Aus couple and we got a crap cabin with limited view as our small balcony has half metal and half clear glass - restricted view. We were offered no upgrade or recompense. The food is crap at best 3/10. This ship is too big, too many people and staff don't give a damn about passengers. One has to pay for water - even in the restaurants. Everything is about the mighty dollar and not passenger comfort - shuttles to the towns are another cost - never experienced by us before. Buffet food is crap. Restaurant food sub standard and all done on the cheap. One meal was "seafood Paella" - it consisted of rice and one prawn and 1 mussel - no other protein or seafood. Disgusting !!! We have travelled from the other side of the world for this!!! We are devastated..........we are so disappointed and disillusioned .......We have cruised withe Holland American, P & O. Norwegian and on MSC Armonia (which we thoroughly enjoyed and recommended) BUT never again will we risk MSC. We are currently still on the ship as we took a 3 week cruise; we are looking forward to getting off!!! Embarkation was an all day affair and so so disorganised, it was a nightmare! Hope disembarkation is not as horrid - it will be cause for celebration for us to put this experience behind us. Sorry cannot recommend. Read Less
MSC Meraviglia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 2.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 5.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.1

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